Another Christmas Approaches

Last Christmas seems like yesterday. It was exciting and special. It was our first family Christmas in Colledimezzo.
I’ve spent Christmas in Germany, England and the US, but nothing compares to Christmas in Italy.
Traditional and filled with joy.
Shopping in a Supermercato in Lanciano for my first Italian Christmas Tree.
I think I did well. Piazza Vizioli hosted a night of entertainment which was enjoyed by adults and kids alike. The moon showed its face and lit up the sky.
Happiness!
Can’t wait to be back.

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This Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement (Part 6) Colledimezzo

 

We arrived in the little village of Colledimezzo an hour early, my fault, my timing was all to pot. It had been a long and tiring journey from Colorado to Abruzzo, a place we had never before visited. The extra hour gave us time to relax and watch the village wake up. We ordered coffee in the Emy Bar, which proved to be the hub of the village. My lovely daughter got a lot of attention from some of the male residents, which made her blush and made me laugh. Everyone was incredibly friendly. We were two strangers who didn’t speak Italian, but it didn’t seem to matter. We sat in the little square and enjoyed the attention and the view.
When Monia, our Realtor arrived, we’d just finished drinking our second cup of coffee, petted a well looked after stray cat, watched a mamma dog play with her young pup, said Buon Giorno more times than I can remember, and decided the village of Colledimezzo was a wonderful place.
The house on Via Badia was the third, and last house we visited in the village. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was the one.

Joanna took a short movie to send back to the US. The house, which was on three floors and built into the side of the hill, stole our hearts. It was an old, lovingly restored, Olive Mill and oozing with character. A nice, shy young man, who was the son of the owner, showed us around. The stone walls, the big windows and the views were wonderful. I was done, didn’t want to see any other houses, but Monia quite rightly insisted we should.
Sitting in the square again, we talked for a little longer, and decided to go ahead with the viewings the following day in Celezna and and San Buono. I was wildly excited, but also a little scared at the thought of parting with a huge sum of money on a house my husband had never visited. It felt right, but it was a big decision! Thank heavens my level headed daughter was there with me, guiding me through it all. I could never have done it without her.

An oasis of peace on three hills

No need to add any more to my retirement blog this week! This article says it all!

Colledimezzo is among the 20 most beautiful cities in Italy on Skyscanner

The travel search engine has announced the list of the 20 most beautiful cities for 2019: the small town in the province of Chieti among the places of undisputed beauty, to be inspired for the next trip out of town

colledimezzo-3Colledimezzo is among the 20 most beautiful cities in Italy on Skyscanner
An oasis of peace that saw its birth around the tenth century, Colledimezzo owes much of its fortune to the wild and lush nature of the Val di Sangro, which we recommend exploring through interesting trekking routes. But before getting lost in the green of Abruzzo you must get to know this mountain village closely dominated by a basilica in which a magnificent painting was found depicting “The Madonna with Child, Saint Francis of Assisi and the client” by Tanzio da Varallo … yes, one of the greatest Italian artists of the Seventeenth century! The church in question is that of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, a hidden wonder of our Peninsula. After a walk in the center and a salute to the Palazzo d’Avalosandate to find Lake Bomba and take a souvenir photo “you can read in the list published by Skyscanner.“

I’d like to add to this article by saying the folks who live in Colledimezzo are the warmest people I have ever met. They are helpful, friendly and welcoming. So glad we bought a home here. We can retire and relax in tranquility.

This Crazy Little thing called Retirement (Part 5) Atessa.

 

 

I’d booked a hotel in a town close by, not knowing the route would take us through Colledimezzo.
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Jo drove slowly on the winding road through the village, past Piazza Vizioli and around the tight hairpin that took the road in another direction as it climbed the hillside. It was narrow and lined with houses and little shops, then in the blink of an eye, we were back in the countryside again.
The beautiful walled town of Atessa was another twenty minutes drive. atessa-chieti-abruzzo-italy-old-town-hill-landscape-italian-97764032
When we got there, we couldn’t work out how to maneuver our way through the narrow streets, to the hotel so Jo found a place to park and I ran to the hotel to get help. No one spoke English, but I managed to make the staff understand what I needed. A young lady who worked as a waitress, came back to the car with me and jumped into the passenger seat. While I walked back to Al Duca (the hotel), she directed Joanna through the narrow streets and showed her where to park. It was with great relief that Jo turned off the engine. She’d driven clear across Italy and had enough driving for one day. We took our cases into the lovely old hotel and then went for a walk. We were tired and stiff from sitting in the car all day.
Atessa was an unexpected delight, adorned with lights, it looked like something from a fairytale. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3994A band played in the piazza. Through every gap in the buildings you glimpsed a view of the rolling hills of Abruzzo. We sat outside a lovely little restaurant and had a pre-dinner drink before returning to the hotel. After delicious home made pizza, salad, and a carafe of wine, we went to bed, happy to have made it across Italy to Abruzzo!

The window in my room looked across ancient rooftops, and I left it open, allowing the evening breeze to blow the curtains. The band still played outside, and every fifteen minutes, the church bells chimed. It was the music of Italy and it made me feel welcome.

This Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement (Part 4) Colledimezzo

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With the soft top of the little Fiat 500 rolled down, the sun on our shoulders and the breeze in our faces, we continued across the mountains of central Italy. I was pleased Jo was driving because the views were spectacular. Most of our journey took us through national park. Picnickers sat among the trees, their laughter tantalizing our ears as we passed, stalls selling wild truffles and asparagus popped up along the road side. This was a part of Italy I had never seen, and didn’t know existed. As we climbed higher the trees became sparse and wild horses roamed by the side of the road. Magnificent, well fed, healthy animals.

The scenery was incredible, but we were growing weary, it had been a long day and the journey began to tell on us. It was easy for me, I was the passenger, but Jo was driving, and that was tough on unfamiliar mountain roads. We began to ascend the eastern side of the mountains and little villages appeared, scattered on hilltops. Some were perched so high they looked unreachable. Every time a new one appeared I’d say.
“Look Jo, thats Colledimezzo,”
I think I must have repeated myself a dozen times before she gave me the look! Each village was equally as beautiful. Then finally we were directed away from the main road by a sign which read COLLEDIMEZZO, and there it was in all its beauty.
My future home.

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This Crazy Little Thing called Retirement – Crossing Italy (Part 3)

My daughter lived in Dallas at the time, so we took different flights and met at the Marriott Rome Park. A lovely hotel not far from the Airport.  My husband and I stayed there a couple of times on prior visits to Rome. Jo and I met at the bar, giddy with excitement about our trip. After all, it’s not everyday you fly to Italy to buy a house. After a couple of cocktails we sat down to dinner. Our excitement was infectious, we had a lovely evening…unfortunately the wine and food didn’t make for a great night’s sleep! It was worth it though.
The next morning we returned to the airport to pick up or rental car. I wasn’t that confident about driving in Italy back then (that soon changed) so my daughter did the driving. An excellent job she did too. We’d never driven across Italy before, or visited Abruzzo, so we had to rely on the car navigation system, which seemed to be constantly confused. Jo wanted to take the smaller road across the mountains, rather than the highway. Once we got away from the hustle bustle of Rome, we relaxed a little and decided to stop for lunch.
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Luckily, we saw a restaurant right on the road side. This was our first real experience with “non tourist” Italy. We were the only folks who didn’t speak Italian. Tables were pushed together at one side of the restaurant to accommodate a large family gathering of at least 40 people. All talking together, drinking wine, sharing platters of food. Kids laughed, played (and occasionally cried). The menu was in Italian of course.
We ordered salad and meat, a little wine a bottle of Aqua frizzante, to wash it down with.
I looked around me at what would become my everyday life, and I liked what I saw. We couldn’t linger over lunch because there was a very long journey ahead of us. We had to cross the mountains of Central Italy, and find a small village called Colledimezzo.

Home in Abruzzo

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We discovered Abruzzo in August 2017. My husband tasked my daughter and I with finding a house on whirlwind three day trip. (Quite exhausting from the USA). We didn’t really know what to expect.
Abruzzo was introduced to us by hotel staff in various hotels in and around Rome. The comments always went like this:
Abruzzo is beautiful, but there is no work, which is why I move to Rome/Milan/Florence. 
We’d been looking to buy a home in Italy for a while, a place to retire, so work wasn’t important to us. What we wanted was tranquility, beauty, genuine people and a reasonably priced economy. We found it all in the beautiful little hillside village of Colledimezzo.

Bomba (above) is typical of the towns and villages in the area. Unspoiled beauty that makes you feel you’re stepping back in time. Not quite ready to retire yet, but when we do, I think life here will be treat us well.

Good Friday in Abruzzo

Each Village has its own emotional procession. I was honored to be a part of this.



Adriatic Sabato

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And Saturday is here again. Always busy with chores because I work during the week. Not complaining, I have an interesting job among very special folks. If I didn’t work I wouldn’t have things to look forward to, like my upcoming trip to Abruzzo. Feast your eyes on this rugged unspoiled coast. Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to call Abruzzo my home, but wait I’ll have to, because it’s not quite time.

In two weeks I’ll be enjoying this beautiful view in person. An Adriatic Saturday!
Good things are worth waiting for!

Christmas in Colledimezzo

Looking back at the photos and wishing we were still there. Christmas in Abruzzo is how Christmas should be. Traditional, simple and full of fun. From home-baked treats to Nativity Scenes made by local schools, Santa and his elves, excited children. It was beautiful. The Christmas lights weren’t ridiculous and choreographed, but welcoming and bright, just like the people.

Can’t wait to do it again!

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